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Those of you who follow us on Instagram or saw our live photo gallery here on OFFGRIDweb will know that we spent last week in Denver at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2018. This show, often referred to as ORSM or simply the OR Show, is a mecca for all who work in the outdoor industry. This four-day event features booths from big-name companies such as Camelbak, The North Face, KEEN, Black Diamond, and Hydro Flask, as well as dozens upon dozens of smaller brands. These companies often unveil new products and prototypes to the media at OR Show. However, the show isn't open to the public, so unless you closely follow industry news, you may not have learned about those items yet.
We were at ORSM all four days, and searched for new items that stood out from the crowd. There were plenty of products that left us underwhelmed, but a select few that stood out as being particularly memorable and innovative. Today, we'll give a quick recap of four new products from Outdoor Retailer 2018 that we found appealing from a survival and emergency preparedness standpoint.
Keep in mind that aside from checking them out at the show, we have not yet tested or evaluated these products thoroughly. So, this article focuses on our first impressions of these four items. We hope to give each of them a standalone in-depth review in the future to determine their real-world effectiveness.
In the H2O Hygiene water purifier buyer's guide from Issue 15 of our magazine, we reviewed a water bottle purifier from LifeSaver (pictured above on the right). We were impressed by its wide-spectrum effectiveness against bacteria, protozoan cysts, viruses, and other waterborne contaminants, but felt it suffered somewhat due to its ungainly shape and pressurized dispensing nozzle. LifeSaver has released a new purifier that resolves these issues and makes some impressive strides.
The LifeSaver Jerrycan looks like an ordinary 5-gallon fuel jerrycan, and can be mounted on vehicle racks using the molded-in holes or carried using the sturdy handle. This external design is nothing new, but what's under the hood makes a big difference.
The top of the can features two caps. The angled cap on the corner must be unscrewed to fill the Jerrycan from any freshwater source, then screwed back on tightly before pumping this cap's built-in handle 10-15 times until water begins to trickle from the nozzle on the second cap. This water is now purified and suitable for drinking or washing. By pumping the handle 3-5 more times with the tap closed, you can build pressure in the tank, then install the hose attachment. This makes it easy to carry 5 gallons of water wherever you go, purify it on demand for drinking, and wash dishes or other contamination-sensitive items with purified water.
Two models of the Jerrycan are available: a 10,000-liter/2,641-gallon capacity for $190, or a 20,000-liter/5,282-gallon capacity for $230. Color options are blue, tan, green, or black (available soon). The LifeSaver filters will automatically stop water flow when their lifespan ends, and can be replaced for $76 (10k-liter model) or $90 (20k-liter model).
Since the LOWA Renegade is one of our favorite dedicated hiking boots, we were excited to learn that the company has released a new lighter-weight boot model that's tailored for everyday wear and more casual hikes.
The LOWA Locarno features a Monowrap frame like that of the Renegade, but it has been inverted to favor flexibility and comfort over the Renegade's firmer support. The Locarno also features a DuraPU/DynaPU hybrid midsole, which we're told provides excellent cushioning and shock absorption. A nubuck leather and fabric upper with breathable GORE-TEX lining makes these boots fully waterproof up to the collar.
The Locarno is offered in either mid-cut or low-cut, and sizes range from 7.5 to 14. We appreciate the subdued color choices, which consist of combinations of black, brown, green, and tan. MSRP is $190 for the Locarno GTX Lo and $210 for the Locarno GTX Mid.
Unlike the tougher Renegade, we could see the Locarno remaining wearable on a daily basis around town, especially the low-cut variety. This makes it an appealing multi-purpose footwear option.
We previously wrote about the Garmin inReach SE+ and Explorer+ after their launch last year. These handheld GPS devices offer location tracking, navigation, mapping, rescue beacon, and emergency communications functionality. Most interestingly, they can transmit and receive text messages via the Iridium satellite network, so you can communicate with your loved ones in emergency situations even when there's no cell service in your area.
The all-new Garmin inReach Mini condenses many of these functions into a much smaller and simpler 4.3oz unit that fits into the palm of your hand. It provides the same functions as the larger inReach devices, including two-way text messaging and an interactive SOS beacon.
You might be thinking this device is too small for map functions, but Garmin came up with a clever workaround. The inReach Mini can be paired with your smartphone, tablet, or other handheld device (including Garmin watches) to access topo maps, NOAA charts, satellite images of terrain, and other features. The inReach pulls the data from the satellite, and transmits it to the larger screen on your other device via the Garmin Earthmate app.
The inReach Mini is available now at an MSRP of $350, and available in either black or rescue orange. It requires a satellite plan, which costs between $12 and $100 per month, depending on text message quantity and satellite tracking interval frequency.
With a simple design and myriad of uses, this is one of those products that had us wondering, why didn't we think of that?! We stumbled upon the Road Shower booth unexpectedly, and learned that it's a roof-rack-mounted water reservoir with some pretty ingenious features.
The fourth-generation Road Shower consists of a fully-sealed aluminum tank, available in three different sizes — 4-gallon small ($300), 7-gallon medium ($400), and 10-gallon large ($500). The tank mounts to a standard vehicle roof rack or bike rack with provided brackets and carriage bolts. It can be filled normally, and water will flow out based on gravity and the tank's elevation, or it can be pressurized for a high-flow spray.
Pressurizing the tank is as simple as attaching your garden hose to the fill port, as this will both fill and pressurize the tank. Pressure can also be added using 15-25 pumps of a standard bike pump, or by connecting an air compressor or electric tire inflator. A pressure-relief valve on the cap ensures you won't over-pressurize the water beyond 75 psi. The company says a fully-pressurized tank can spray water 60 feet from the included hose attachment, and can provide pressurized water for up to 15 minutes of continuous use.
Each tank is coated in a black textured finish, which causes sunlight to passively heat the water throughout the course of a warm day (the company says temperature will rise roughly 12 to 20 degrees per hour). So you won't have to take an uncomfortable cold shower when you're away from civilization.
We can see many survival uses for the Road Shower. It provides access to several gallons of potable water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning, plus a spray nozzle for hosing dirt off gear or your body. Whether you've got a dedicated off-road adventure vehicle or just want to upgrade your daily driver with something better than plastic water bottles in the trunk, the Road Shower has potential.